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Raking, rattling and reaping

Today is THE day (12th August) to sow yellow-rattle and so Bolton NEWT were out on Leverhulme Park at one of the wildflower meadow sites. Chris had decided that it would not rain all day (even though it had all night) and even so most of us came armed with umbrellas. Sian, a new volunteer, joined the team, with the aim of looking at developing our social media presence, but she also joined in enthusiastically with today's task.

Yellow Rattle is a notoriously difficult plant to manage and maintain due to the complexity of not only the fertility of the soil but the type of grass on site. It is a hemi-parasitic plant that taps into the grass roots and steals nutrients of neighboring plants. Thereby naturally lowering the height of the surrounding grass which then allows more light into a wildflower meadow thereby giving wildflower seeds a better chance of germinating.

The first job was to rake up the cut grass and then we set about sowing the yellow rattle by walking in a line and scattering along the way. The stomping in, normally carried out by grazing animals was managed by a game of football. All of us were running about like mad things and a number of goals were scored on both sides. I think it was a draw.....

After a bit of lunch we went down to the railway cutting for a bit of foraging. We gathered plums and apples from trees on the way and then came across an abundance of juicy blackberries. Yum!!

A lovely day was had by all and Chris was right. It did not rain!

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